TCP eyes expansion, new products

Business reporter

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

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THREE years ago Kia Williams and Jordan Moses dreamt of building a company that incorporated creative writing in the development of products for the local market. Now the duo has even bigger dreams, with plans to expand the company's line of products into international markets.

From their advertising company, Those Creative People (TCP), the duo, in 2016, formed TCP Tings Limited which focused on developing birthday, Christmas and congrats cards, gift tags, and 'One Bag Ah Tings' tote bags that captured the Jamaican culture with creative twists, humour and First World designs.

The company, which now has a team of four individuals, the newest members being Marc Gayle and Lindsey Lodenquai, has since expanded its product line to include get well cards, baby and wedding cards, hand-held fans, T-shirts, the schedule 'Planna', and is also focused on expanding its footprint in the United States in an attempt to capture the Diaspora market.

“That's definitely an area that we are looking into. Within the next week I'll be travelling to meet with individual retailers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to see if we can form a partnership. We are also trying to have our cards available in New York by September in time for the Christmas season,” Moses told the Jamaica Observer during a round-table interview.

What's more, TCP Tings is also looking to secure sales throughout the Caribbean from the customisation of products to fit each culture.

“The first place that we are looking at is Trinidad. When I travelled to the country I really saw more ways in which the people could own their culture,” he said.

Gayle, who holds the post of director of operations and logistics, names Hallmark, the biggest retailer of greeting cards, Christmas ornaments, gift wrap, home decor and gift ideas, as TCP Tings' greatest competition. Still, he believes that his company can secure a toehold in the greeting card market from its Jamaican slang and story-based products.

“One of the favourite cards on the market is the 'Don't yuh jus luv gettin birthday cards wid money inside'. Jamaicans love that card because the truth is that people love cards with money,” he told the Business Observer.

“But we've added a little twist to it. So when you open the card it says 'Dis ah nuh one a dem card deh, YUH TOO GREEDY. Happy Birthday', and when people see that they just can't stop laughing,” he said, adding that the idea behind each gift card is to bring out real Jamaican experiences.

TCP Tings' product line was officially rolled out in 2017 after exposure at Moda Market in 2016. The tags and gift cards, which are priced at $50 and $400 respectively, can be found at 20 locations islandwide including Fontana pharmacies, York Pharmacy, Azan SuperCentre, Island Village, MegaMart and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

The company has reached an agreement with local company Lithographic Printers for the production of its greetings cards and tags, but declined to speak about production numbers. Ultimately, TCP Tings hopes that the addition of the new products will increase sales 50 per cent year-on-year from its thrust into international markets.

As for the “One Bag Ah Tings” tote which got its name from the Jamaican saying 'Yu a walk round with one bag ah tings', it is priced between $3,800 and $6,500. Part of the proceeds of each sale goes to the Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica campaign, a public education initiative aimed at improving knowledge about the impact of poorly handled waste on public health and the environment, while encouraging personal responsibility for the generation and disposal of waste.

The item, which is currently sold directly through TCP or its retail partner KerryManWoman, is now being sought by one of the stores at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston.

“We wanted to have it as more of a boutique item, but there are some designs that we are considering to retail at the airport,” said founding partner Williams.

“Sales at MBJ [Sangster] have been good and we expect the same for NMIA when the time comes. What we've seen, especially at MBJ, is a mix between travelling Jamaicans or members of the Diaspora that stumbled upon our cards. Other times we have international guests who will pick up our cards because they love the Jamaican culture and understand our language,” she continued.

TCP recently launched its website to drive card sales from the US. However, the company is now challenged by how to conveniently package the cards for customers.

“It doesn't make sense to ship one card because shipping cost is too high, and there is also the challenge of allowing customers to choose what they want,” Williams said.

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